Sonia Manhas
a 20 percent raise last year
Jeff Cogen
raise further questions about Cogen’s judgment.
interviewing for a job
sleeping with the county’s highest ranking official
no competition for the new post
Lillian Shirley
Joanne Fuller

County personnel policies say an employee "may not be directly supervised by a person who is a relative, a member of the employee's household, or a person with whom the employee has an intimate relationship. This means the supervisor may not have any say or input into the subordinate individual's job benefits or detriments, either directly or indirectly."

“She is not my subordinate; she does not report to me,” Cogen told WW on Tuesday night. “And my understanding is that while what I’ve done is really stupid, really stupid, it’s not a violation of any personnel rules.”

There is no evidence Cogen did influence Manhas’ promotion. Colleagues say she is a bright, dynamic rising star, who single-handedly landed a $7.5 million federal grant in 2011 that has benefited all county school districts.

Yet people who work with Manhas say she regularly visited Cogen’s office and had better access to Cogen, unlike other officials of her rank. Manhas often went outside the chain of command to communicate directly with Cogen. 

Cogen told WW that during the course of the two-year-long affair—which he says began “the spring, like May” of 2011 and ended two months ago—he communicated by phone, text and email regularly with Manhas. They also ate lunch and met regularly in the evenings, he says. 

As of July 1, all county managers, including Manhas, got a 4 percent raise.

That bumped her salary up to $103,299 a year.